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Analysis of Chinese Characters (Paperback)

Analysis of Chinese Characters (Paperback)
Author/Publisher: G. D. Wilder, J. H. Ingram
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Characters
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
List Price: $14.95

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Detailed information
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Far and away the most useful analysis of characters for beginner, intermediate student. 1,000 most important characters analyzed according to primitives, phonetics, historical development. Traditional method offers mnemonic aid to student of Chinese, Japanese.

Product Details
  • Paperback: 365 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 0486230457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 7 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful:

Interesting reading, poor real-world reference., March 7, 2001

Reviewer: Dale Dellinger

This is an interesting book about the history of some 1002 characters. Each character is dissected into its radical and phonetic parts with etymology provided for each part and the combined whole. Originally published in 1922 and 1934 in China, so the characters are "traditional" and the phonetic spelling is unfortunately using the outdated Wade-Giles system (Beijing would be spelled "Peiching"). This book is better for browsing than for reference -- I've found it frustrating to try and look up words in it with only the alphabetical (Wade-Giles) and pure stroke order (not grouped by radical) indexes. It is also lacking any sort of English to Chinese index.

A major shortcoming of this book is that it doesn't really tell you how the characters are used. There are no examples and it ignores completely that Chinese characters usually don't stand alone but are used in combinations to form words.

A better all-around book that gives a short summary of the origin of each character plus can really be used for reference (and shows how character are combined to form words) is Rick Harbaugh's "Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary".


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful:

A good historical perspective of Chinese characters, November 25, 2002

Reviewer: Lisbeth West (Carter Lake, Colorado)

I am just starting lo learn Chinese at home and would not have even attempted it without the support of several e-mail friends from China. After reading almost everyone's "listomania" and reviews of the many books on learning Chinese, I chose this to add to my library. (Thanks to all you Amazon reviewers!)

I am familiar with Eastern thought and some of the history of China as a result of my 30+ years studying Taoism and, more recently, Buddhhism. The book brought facts together for me in the history of the language and why the characters changed form. I found this information fascinating. This resource answered many of the questions I had before tackling the language itself.

So much help when explaining how to see the difference between the radical and phonetic! It also has a handy index in the back to find an alphabetical list in Western language converted to the Chinese character.. One of the unusual aspects of the book is the index of characters broken down in the number of strokes a character uses. However, there is no pronounciation guide. This is a major drawvback for the hands-on learner.

I know I will be using this text as a staple of my lessons. However, I would not start with this text. As noted above, I recommend "Learn to Write Chinese Characters" by Johan Bjorksten as a "primer." (I am reminded of the tablet and pencil I used in first grade to practice my alphabet when attempting one character a day.)

Some days I feel like I am Bart Simson writing on the blackboard after school, but I faithfully follow the instruction to learn each stroke and practice each character at least one hundred times before moving on.

This language is an art, and I have yet to find the right pen and inks, as well as the "tablet" paper needed to "keep within the lines." Would someone please make this type of "tablet" available to the first year student? If you know a source, please e-mail me!

I do recommend this as an excellent reference book and I will find it increasingly useful as mylearning continues. Great for the reference library!


Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

Old Book, keep looking for a better one, August 18, 2005

Reviewer: Carolina Hernandez Diaz (Santiago, Chile)

First: I don't recommend this book, for several reason:

1.-This book it's not updated since 1974, you can check this because it's horrible printed, and it's hard to identify some chinese characters.(old-yellow paper too)
2.-There are no logical order to look for the chinese symbols, (some of the caracthers can be find by radical, but not all) so you can spend the rest of your life trying to find the word that you need.
3.- This it's not an analysis, it's more a dicctionary (with no order) than an analysis, so if you want to learn how are related the symbols, chinese culture, or at least some history of chinese calligraphy, you are losing your time, you will find just meaning of the symbol.
4.-It doesn't invite you to read it.
5.-Uses the old method to write pinyin, obsolet at this moment (it's not oficial for the chinese government). For new student this book differs to the actual method.
6.-It's for study traditional chinese, it doesn't include the simplified symbol.-


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:

This book is very useful and interesting, August 9, 2001

Reviewer: Eduardo Morales (MIAMI, FLORIDA USA)

This book is criticized by some high brow scholars because it has some etymological errors, however the information it provides for every character (some 1400 in this book) is very helpful for learning them, it also gives for most of them the old seal form that is highly informative. To learn above 4000+ is a interesting, fascinating but difficult task, and this book is a great help for building memory holds. It uses a old style romanization but is easy to get hold of it in some minutes, it has a very useful alphabetic index and a stroke index. I would recommend it as a extra help for those using the Heising method.


21 of 32 people found the following review helpful:

I concur with the previous reviews..., June 17, 1999

Reviewer: Zakarius (Columbus, OH USA)

I had been looking for a text which would allow me to speed my process of learning Chinese. Because I am at an intermediate level, this text provided me with an historical and logical foundation for Chinese characters which I feel is a better method for learning than the raw memorization taught in most texts and courses.

Although the Wade-Giles Romanization system has become a dead system (for good reason), conversion into the more familiar PinYin isn't too bad with a little practice. If you're going to learn Chinese, for example, a few hours learning the intricacies between Wade-Giles, PinYin and the Yale Romanization systems shouldn't be any deterrant.



23 of 24 people found the following review helpful:

Spectacular book, December 27, 1998

Reviewer: Moises Romanowsky (moipiano@hotmail.com) "moipiano" (San Francisco, California)

The book's only flaw is its use of a dated romanization, Wade-Giles, instead of pinyin. Otherwise it is a fascinating study of 1000 Chinese characters. The characters' parts are examined thoroughly and then we are shown how the joined pieces make up both the sound and meaning of the original character. I don't understand how such an interesting part of learning and understanding Chinese has been neglected. If you are learning Chinese, do not covet this book. Buy it! Now!


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